Statement of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, recorded and broadcast to Japan shortly after his arrival in the Philippines from the Greater East Asia Congress, November 20, 1943:

The Greater East Asia Congress held in Tokyo on the fifth and sixth days of this month under the auspices of the Japanese Government is the most historic and the most significant conference of representatives of free and independent nations of East Asia.

The conference was marked with an atmosphere of friendship and cordiality. The representatives sat together with fellow Orientals with whom they shared a community of purpose and interest and saw their respective countries treated on a par with all the rest. Everyone was eager to contribute his share to make the conference a success. In the discussions there was sincerity and a firm resolve to achieve the common goal.

Under the chairmanship of Premier Tozyo the conference proceeded with absolute harmony and understanding. The most important feature of the conference was the submission to the assembly by the Japanese representative of a joint declaration embodying five fundamental principles:

(1) The construction of “an order of common prosperity and well-being based on justice.”

(2) Fraternity among the nations and peoples of Greater East Asia and mutual respect of “one another’s sovereignty and independence.”

(3) The enhancement of the culture and civilization of Greater East Asia while at the same time “respecting one another’s traditions and developing the creative faculties of each race.”

(4) Economic development through close co-operation among the countries of Greater East Asia on the basis of reciprocity and the promotion of the general prosperity of the region.

(5) The cultivation of friendly relations with all the countries of the world, the abolition of racial discrimination, the promotion of cultural intercourse and the opening of resources throughout the world, and contribute thereby to the progress of mankind.

These principles should guide all of us in our effort to strengthen the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and contribute to the progress and welfare of all East Asia and the rest of the world.

The Joint Resolution is a notable instrument and every true Oriental should be happy to subscribe to the lofty principles which it sets forth.

My own vote which I cast in behalf of my country was influenced mainly by that portion which guarantees fair and equal treatment to all members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere, irrespective of size or strength.

In explaining the Joint Declaration, Premier Tozyo made a statement which must be constantly borne in mind by all Asians, a statement which has been received with profound gratification by Filipino leaders because it successfully clarifies the brotherly relations that bind the signatories together as well as the right of the different countries to give expression to their true selves.

The explanation of Premier Tozyo is not less important than the Joint Declaration itself. It will strengthen further the faith of all Asian peoples in the fulfillment of Japan’s mission, and hence in the future of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library